The Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers Make Beautiful Music this Week on Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation

mic-small 10Two of the hottest releases of the year are discussed by two of the most beloved melodic pop groups working today on this week’s sparkling pair of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation episodes.

the-legal-matters-conradthe legal matters photoTomorrow night, Tuesday, November 15 at 8 pm ET, the Legal Matters converge on our In Conversation microphones to talk to Alan Haber about their brand-new, hall-of-fame album, Conrad. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith provide the in-depth background on an album that sets a new standard for vocal harmonies. You’ll hear three songs and the stories behind them, including the remarkable “Lull and Bye.”

the-nines-alejandros-visionssteve-eggersThe Nines’ Steve Eggers joins Alan this Wednesday, November 16 at 9 pm ET to go in-depth on his new album Alejandro’s Visions, a lovely tribute to the song styles that fuel the Great American Songbook, doo-wop, Beach Boys-styled harmonies, Jeff Lynne, the Four Freshman and other touchstones. Three songs will be spun, and you’ll find out which records might surprise you if you were able to look through Steve’s record collection!

Don’t miss the Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers this week on a pair of all-new episodes of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation.

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A Specialty Show Bonanza? An Exclusive First Airing of Every Little Thing, Starring the Weeklings? You Bet, Hoss!

mic-small 10This week’s lineup of Pure Pop Radio specialty shows is nothing less than a bonanza, a rich run of programs designed to entertain and delight.

the-weeklings-studio-2-smallAnd now, to get our week’s worth of programming off and running, we’re pleased as punch to announce that Pure Pop Radio is the first affiliate to air tonight’s all-new edition of Ken Michaels’ Beatles get-together, Every Little Thing, starring the Weeklings. Ken talks to the Weeklings themselves and plays two sparkling tracks from the group’s new album, Studio 2, which comes out this Friday via Jem Records. Also on tap tonight, beginning at 8 pm ET: the usual top-flight group of songs from the Beatles, from their group and solo years.

waveAlso tonight, November 14 at 9 pm ET, Jammin’ James Riley presents the second part of his exclusive interview with Dean Torrence (he of Jan and), and tracks by Duane Eddy, Dennis Wilson, Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars, Laughing Gravy, and the Ramones. Jammin’ James keeps the spirit of summer sounds alive, every Monday night.

the-nines-alejandros-visionsthe-legal-matters-conradYou can read all about this week’s double shot of all-new episodes of Pure Pop Radio: In Conversation, featuring the Legal Matters and the Nines’ Steve Eggers, by clicking here. Reserve tomorrow night at 8 pm ET for Alan Haber’s chat with Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith, and Wednesday, November 16 at 9 pm ET for an in-depth conversation with Mr. Eggers.

scott-mcphersons-the-weird-and-the-wonderfulMake a nice sandwich and pour a hot cup of soup in time to check in with Pop 4’s Scott McPherson on Wednesday, November 16 at 1 pm ET. On this week’s edition of The Weird and the Wonderful, Scott will be spinning a selection of songs that wear their influences on their sleeves. Tracks from Elvis Costello, the Spongetones, Teenage Fanclub, XTC, the Sugarplastic, the Fraternal Order of the All (aka Andrew Gold and friends), and the Cowsills are just the collective tip of the musical iceberg on Scott’s seventh show, with tons more shows to come.

the-beatles-things-we-said-todayWinding up this week’s specialty show lineup is our esteemed panel of Beatles experts on an all-new edition of Things We Said Today, the premiere Fabs roundtable. This week, Ken Michaels, Steve Marinucci, Al Sussman and Allan Kozinn talk about the Beatles and politics, and discuss Paul McCartney’s latest soundtrack song: Does our panel feel that “In the Blink of an Eye,” featured in the new animated film, Ethel and Ernest, makes the grade? Tune in and find out.

al-sussman-fans-on-the-run-buttonWhat a week! We’ve got one more all-new In Conversation show to bring you before the Thanksgiving holiday: one of our “Just for Fun” sessions, this time around with Beatlefan magazine executive editor Al Sussman. Details are forthcoming. You won’t want to miss this show!

See you on the radio for this week’s lineup of Pure Pop Radio specialty shows!

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The Legal Matters’ Conrad Says “Hi!” Release Day is Here!

the-legal-matters-conradIt’s release day for The Legal Matters’ new album, Conrad, who, by the way, says “Hi!” There certainly has been no lack of attention paid to this tremendous long player; this is for good reason. Conrad is quite simply a winning achievement.

My in-depth review, originally published here on October 4, is reproduced below for those of you who missed it the first time around. In the review, I state that “The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music.” If ever there were a case to be made for musicians being drawn together because it had to be, this album is it. This is the audio proof. Don’t miss this one. – Alan Haber

The Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)
A review by Alan Haber alan 5 small

On the inside left panel of the gatefold sleeve of The Association’s 1970 double album “Live”, a list of the band members, titled The Players, fed into a section titled And Their Instruments, which named usual suspects such as guitars, drums and bass guitar along with suspects that were perhaps not so usual for a rock ‘n’ roll album: soprano recorder, tenor recorder, and pocket trumpet.

And, in the manner that cast credits for a film or television show might spotlight a particular actor–and Kiefer Sutherland, for example–the following was noted, perhaps as an afterthought to some: “and the human voice.” As a 15-year-old, music obsessed boy whose world turned around rich vocal harmonies, this was the most important piece of information on offer for an album that was, for me, a monumental achievement.

My young world, as informed as it was by my favorite comic book artists–Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson–my stamp collection, my dedication to the television shows that defined my generation–The Twilight Zone, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie–and my transistor radio, which connected me to broadcasts both local and far away, was moreover defined by the sound of the human voice singing the songs that were written by my favorite recording artists.

The Beach Boys were certainly important to me for that very reason, as were The Four Seasons and The Association, whose records I cherished (no pun intended) and played probably more than those of any other artists in my collection (don’t tell John, Paul, George or Ringo). A committed vocal, with just the right amount of heart and soul, could stop me in my tracks, but a two- or three- or four-or-more-part rich harmony was something else again; it was something magical, something quite amazing.

Thankfully, the melodic pop music I have devoted my life to championing these past 21 years, in reviews and on the radio, very often continues to put the spotlight on the vocal harmonies that I so cherish. Bands like Kate Stephenson’s Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club carry on that vocal harmony tradition in a way that mirrors the many hours I spent as a child listening to music playing on my stereo and coming out of my transistor radio.

the legal matters photoAnother band that carries on the vocal harmony tradition and, indeed, practically redefines it, is The Legal Matters out of Detroit, Michigan, a long-standing, storied music town whose favorite musical sons are many and varied and legendary. It wouldn’t be out of line to include Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith in that group, such has been the level of acceptance of their wares on the part of fans of melodic pop music.

Their list of credits, spanning more years than probably any of them would care to acknowledge, is long and celebrated and includes a variety of solo and group releases. Just mention The Reed Brothers, An American Underdog, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, The Pantookas, and The Phenomenal Cats to those in the know and see what kind of a reaction you get.

As often happens in storied partnerships, the coming together of Andy, Chris, and Keith ignited a fertile spark that resulted in them recording together. 2014’s self-titled Legal Matters album was a warm, 10-song affair that was crafted in the dead of winter inside Andy’s Reed Recording Company studio in Bay City, Michigan, with drummer Cody Marecek and guitarist Nick Piunti, a top-flight pop artist in his own right, in tow.

Their musical sensibilities clicked from the start as the cold weather whipped around them, and songs such as the melody-rich, uptempo “The Legend of Walter Wright” and the pretty ballad “Mary Anne” were born. “Mary Anne,” in particular, was something of a triumph, in that its rich vocal harmonies showed the heights that Andy, Chris, and Keith could reach as a unit.

the-legal-matters-conrad-buttonA second album was inevitable. Its name is Conrad; the cover art depicts a mouthless, seemingly silent, colorfully shirted koala bear. The 11 songs are a natural progression from the 10 on the first release, taken at a slower, but not slow, pace; the harmonies are more intricate and deeply felt. The vocal harmonies are more up front and alive. This is the sound of a band that has come into its own, that has benefitted from time spent feeling each other out, turning complex vocal structures into seemingly simpler constructs that aren’t at all simple.

The rich, finely detailed vocal harmonies are the collective star of Conrad’s show, but by no means the only performer; the instrumentation, supplied by Andy, Chris, and Keith, with Donny Brown and Andy Dalton handling drum duties, is peerless, and the songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing.

But it’s the rich vocal harmonies that set Conrad apart from a slew of other, recent melodic pop music releases. Nowhere is this more evident and true than on the short, coda-like, penultimate track “Lull and Bye,” a virtually a cappella, powerful slice of emotion-filled vocalese that is a thrilling testament to the power of the human voice that The Association so aptly included in the list of instruments played on their “Live” album. Other than the beautiful harmonies, the only instrument in evidence is a ghostly, spare piano, barely heard, that acts as really nothing more than a light, percussive underpinning. This track is so powerful that it recalls Brian Wilson’s “One for the Boys,” a majestic cut included on his first, self-titled solo album.

In order to truly appreciate the power of “Lull and Bye,” one must listen to the vocals-only mix available to purchasers of Conrad as a download bonus. For this experience, the piano part is gone and only the lovely vocal harmonies remain. To listen to it is a thrilling experience, along the lines of listening to the most vibrant of The Beach Boys’ recordings, stripped of instrumentation.

The vocals-only mix of Conrad should be considered an important part of the total listening experience, especially for musicians and students of how-it-is-done, although, of course, you can and will enjoy the album proper without ever setting the bonus tracks into motion. In fact, forget I said anything; Conrad is just fine–perfect, really–as it is.

the-legal-matters-band-photoThis year has been particularly rich–there is that word again–with strong albums released by both heritage artists and artists new to the melodic pop world stage. As always, artists who stress vocal harmony as a key element of their musical makeup rise to the top of the heap for me. In just 11 lovely songs, The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” “Hip Hooray,” “Minor Key,” “Short Term Memory (Radio Version),” “She Called Me to Say,” “The Cool Kid,” and “Lull and Bye.”
black box When and Where to Get It: Kool Kat Music, Amazon, iTunes, CD Universe.

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The Legal Matters…Matter

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Spins and Reviews | 10.18.16 | by Alan Haber alan 5 small

the-legal-matters-conradThe Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)
The countdown is on for a number of career-defining, musical paragons set to release within the next few weeks. These meticulously crafted recordings not only prove their worth by being accepted with open arms by knowledgeable, discerning listeners, they further prime the field by suggesting that if someone is going to love what they’ve done, they’ll likely love a whole lot more, too.

Much has been written and said about The Legal Matters’ second album, Conrad, which will be available in just 10 days from now on October 28, all of it good (my in-depth review is here). The chatter on social media points to a prosperous melodic pop universe that has so much to offer from artists whose talent turns heads because their work is that good. I’ve got much more to say on this matter in the coming weeks, but for now let me reiterate my love for these 11 songs, showcases for as-close-to-perfect-as-is-possible, deeply felt harmonies, wonderfully realized songwriting, and career defining performances.

Released by the well-respected label Omnivore, whose lovingly curated sets by Big Star and NRBQ, among others, are helping to define the state of the art, Conrad is one of this year’s best new albums, and, speaking the absolute truth, one of the best albums released by a melodic pop group in a very long time. That Pure Pop Radio is, as of today, playing all of Conrad’s songs in heavy rotation, should come as no surprise.

These songs arrive at a time when the pop community needs heroes to help it fight the good fight, to show the world that is defined by a hard-to-quantify number of genres and genre offshoots that melodic music is not only an extremely viable concern, it is, quite frankly, where it’s at.

The Legal Matters’ Conrad is where it’s at.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: The entire album: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” “Minor Key” “Short Term Memory (Radio Version),” “More Birds More Bees,” “Pull My String,” “She Called Me to Say,” “The Cool Kid,” “Hip Hooray,” “Lull and Bye,” and “Better Days.”
black box When and Where to Get It: Kool Kat Musik, Amazon, iTunes.

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“…and the Human Voice”

The Legal Matters set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music.

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Spins and Reviews | 10.4.16 | by Alan Haber

The Legal Matters | Conrad (Omnivore, 2016)

the-legal-matters-conradOn the inside left panel of the gatefold sleeve of The Association’s 1970 double album “Live”, a list of the band members, titled The Players, fed into a section titled And Their Instruments, which named usual suspects such as guitars, drums and bass guitar along with suspects that were perhaps not so usual for a rock ‘n’ roll album: soprano recorder, tenor recorder, and pocket trumpet.

And, in the manner that cast credits for a film or television show might spotlight a particular actor–and Kiefer Sutherland, for example–the following was noted, perhaps as an afterthought to some: “and the human voice.” As a 15-year-old, music obsessed boy whose world turned around rich vocal harmonies, this was the most important piece of information on offer for an album that was, for me, a monumental achievement.

My young world, as informed as it was by my favorite comic book artists–Neal Adams, Gil Kane, Berni Wrightson–my stamp collection, my dedication to the television shows that defined my generation–The Twilight Zone, The Flintstones, I Dream of Jeannie–and my transistor radio, which connected me to broadcasts both local and far away, was moreover defined by the sound of the human voice singing the songs that were written by my favorite recording artists.

The Beach Boys were certainly important to me for that very reason, as were The Four Seasons and The Association, whose records I cherished (no pun intended) and played probably more than those of any other artists in my collection (don’t tell John, Paul, George or Ringo). A committed vocal, with just the right amount of heart and soul, could stop me in my tracks, but a two- or three- or four-or-more-part rich harmony was something else again; it was something magical, something quite amazing.

Thankfully, the melodic pop music I have devoted my life to championing these past 21 years, in reviews and on the radio, very often continues to put the spotlight on the vocal harmonies that I so cherish. Bands like Kate Stephenson’s Myrtle Park’s Fishing Club carry on that vocal harmony tradition in a way that mirrors the many hours I spent as a child listening to music playing on my stereo and coming out of my transistor radio.

the legal matters photoAnother band that carries on the vocal harmony tradition and, indeed, practically redefines it, is The Legal Matters out of Detroit, Michigan, a long-standing, storied music town whose favorite musical sons are many and varied and legendary. It wouldn’t be out of line to include Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith in that group, such has been the level of acceptance of their wares on the part of fans of melodic pop music.

Their list of credits, spanning more years than probably any of them would care to acknowledge, is long and celebrated and includes a variety of solo and group releases. Just mention The Reed Brothers, An American Underdog, Chris Richards and the Subtractions, The Pantookas, and The Phenomenal Cats to those in the know and see what kind of a reaction you get.

As often happens in storied partnerships, the coming together of Andy, Chris, and Keith ignited a fertile spark that resulted in them recording together. 2014’s self-titled Legal Matters album was a warm, 10-song affair that was crafted in the dead of winter inside Andy’s Reed Recording Company studio in Bay City, Michigan, with drummer Cody Marecek and guitarist Nick Piunti, a top-flight pop artist in his own right, in tow.

Their musical sensibilities clicked from the start as the cold weather whipped around them, and songs such as the melody-rich, uptempo “The Legend of Walter Wright” and the pretty ballad “Mary Anne” were born. “Mary Anne,” in particular, was something of a triumph, in that its rich vocal harmonies showed the heights that Andy, Chris, and Keith could reach as a unit.

the-legal-matters-conrad-buttonA second album was inevitable. Its name is Conrad; the cover art depicts a mouthless, seemingly silent, colorfully shirted koala bear. The 11 songs are a natural progression from the 10 on the first release, taken at a slower, but not slow, pace; the harmonies are more intricate and deeply felt. The vocal harmonies are more up front and alive. This is the sound of a band that has come into its own, that has benefitted from time spent feeling each other out, turning complex vocal structures into seemingly simpler constructs that aren’t at all simple.

The rich, finely detailed vocal harmonies are the collective star of Conrad’s show, but by no means the only performer; the instrumentation, supplied by Andy, Chris, and Keith, with Donny Brown and Andy Dalton handling drum duties, is peerless, and the songs are sweetly realized, from the opener “Anything,” not the first track on this album tipping its hat to the much-loved Beach Boys vocal vibe, to the upbeat, single-worthy “Short Term Memory,” which tips its drumsticks to Ringo Starr in a delightful fill and puts forth some top-notch electric guitar playing.

But it’s the rich vocal harmonies that set Conrad apart from a slew of other, recent melodic pop music releases. Nowhere is this more evident and true than on the short, coda-like, penultimate track “Lull and Bye,” a virtually a cappella, powerful slice of emotion-filled vocalese that is a thrilling testament to the power of the human voice that The Association so aptly included in the list of instruments played on their “Live” album. Other than the beautiful harmonies, the only instrument in evidence is a ghostly, spare piano, barely heard, that acts as really nothing more than a light, percussive underpinning. This track is so powerful that it recalls Brian Wilson’s “One for the Boys,” a majestic cut included on his first, self-titled solo album.

In order to truly appreciate the power of “Lull and Bye,” one must listen to the vocals-only mix available to purchasers of Conrad as a download bonus. For this experience, the piano part is gone and only the lovely vocal harmonies remain. To listen to it is a thrilling experience, along the lines of listening to the most vibrant of The Beach Boys’ recordings, stripped of instrumentation.

The vocals-only mix of Conrad should be considered an important part of the total listening experience, especially for musicians and students of how-it-is-done, although, of course, you can and will enjoy the album proper without ever setting the bonus tracks into motion. In fact, forget I said anything; Conrad is just fine–perfect, really–as it is.

the-legal-matters-band-photoThis year has been particularly rich–there is that word again–with strong albums released by both heritage artists and artists new to the melodic pop world stage. As always, artists who stress vocal harmony as a key element of their musical makeup rise to the top of the heap for me. In just 11 lovely songs, The Legal Matters have set a new standard for vocal harmonies in melodic pop music. Andy Reed, Chris Richards, and Keith Klingensmith are the players, and their human voices are their instruments.

black box Now playing in rotation on Pure Pop Radio: “Anything,” “I’m Sorry Love,” and “Hip Hooray”; more tracks coming soon.
black box When and Where to Get It: Anywhere and everywhere on October 28.